Snooker ace Ken Doherty hoping to mastermind Irish success at Cheltenham

Sat 27 Jan 2018

Ken Doherty hopes he can make his first visit to the Cheltenham Festival a successful one by helping Ireland maintain the BetBright Cup.

The 1997 World Snooker champion will square up to former England cricketer Phil Tufnell, who will captain the Great Britain team for the second year in succession, after being unveiled as the new Irish skipper at Prestbury Park on Saturday.

Despite Great Britain starting as favourites for the competition last year the event ended up being a one-sided affair with Ireland running out 19-9 winners.

He said: "I think this is about as close Tuffers is going to get to this cup! I do love racing. I've certainly been misplaced for jockeys over the years that's for sure.

"It is my first time of coming to the Festival. It is something I'm really looking forward to. Over the years the snooker has always fallen at the same sort of time. This year there is a break in the calendar which has allowed me to come and I'm looking forward to it.

"There are so many Irish who come over for it. It is a fantastic event and I am looking forward to the challenge against Mr Tufnell.

"I think he is going to be bowled over on the first day for sure, I think I'm going to hit him for six on the second day and on the third day he is going to be well snookered!

Although watching the Great Britain challenge falter last year, former Question Of Sport captain and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here winner Tufnell is optimistic his side can fare much better this time round.

He said: "I'm on the ropes already and he is already punching. I'm looking forward to it. I had a fantastic time last year. The atmosphere is brilliant. The banter is always great and I'm up for it.

"Last year's defeat was almost as crushing as the England side in the Ashes, but I am predicting a resurgence of British winners and I can't see anything but a whitewash for the red, white and blue."

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